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Coach Mularkey's Tuesday Conference Call Transcript

Posted Oct 17, 2017

Titans head coach Mike Mularkey recaps the team's victory on Monday Night Football with reporters.

TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - October 17, 2017

(on the team's injuries)

Marcus (Mariota) made it through, no setbacks today. We're going to just watch him in practice this week, it's going to be a lighter load anyhow just because of the Monday night game. Derrick Morgan had an abdominal strain, he's day-to-day. We'll know more tomorrow when he gets back in here. That's really the extent of it.

(on wide receiver Corey Davis and safety Johnathan Cyprien)

Probably a no-go for this week again, especially with it being a shorter week.

(on if running back DeMarco Murray is injured)

He's got some tightness in (his hamstring), but he finished the game. He didn't miss anything.

(on if having to stay in the pocket does anything for Marcus Mariota's development as a quarterback)

I don't know, I know he was well protected and allowed him to stay in there better than most of the games we've been a part of. I think our line and backs and tight ends did a great job of keeping the pocket pretty well secured for him. There were a number of times he's had to move a little bit, but not like he has in prior games where he’s had to escape and make something happen. I know it's only his third year, but any experience he can get like he did with what he did last night certainly isn't going to hurt him.

(on his thoughts on the game after watching the tape)

I only watched the offense this morning. I jumped right into Cleveland seeing that we missed a complete day. Did a lot of good things. We protected well, I thought our receivers played very well, really well. They made a lot of plays, Marcus (Mariota) threw a lot of good footballs yesterday. They were where they were supposed to be and made some big plays for us. I thought the run game, as expected, it took a while to try and establish, and that was the plan. We didn't know when and where it was going to hopefully kick in, but we were going to run it until it did. It played out like we thought it would. I was pleased with watching it. 

(on the defense turning around in the second half)

We did some things, made some adjustments at halftime. I sat with the defense, I was in the defensive part while there were adjustments going on. We did some things in there to stop, especially the runs. They were hitting us for big gains, 10, 11, 12-yarders, really preventing them from getting a third down. I think what we did better in the second half is forced them into more third downs and I don't think they converted any of them.

(on wide receiver Eric Decker being an instinctive player)

He's done it for a while here. He's a very smart player, very crafty in getting open, especially when he's in the slot. He's in the slot a couple of those plays that got us first downs or close to a first down. He understands where he needs to be. He's pretty patient in what he does, he sets up his route. I just think he did a lot of things last night, whether he was first in the progression or we had to come back down to him, he was just where he was supposed to be. That's what Marcus (Mariota) needs, and you can see what happens when he is.

(on if DeMarco Murray needs to engage John Simon on Marcus Mariota's interception, or if it was just a bad throw)

Simply a good play by (John) Simon. That's not one of those where the blind's gaping and the backs cutting, that's a protection, he's got more than one guy he's responsible for. We would've liked to see him step up more, but I say it's a better play than it was anything. He was kind of stumbling, staggering there on the release of (Phillip) Supernaw and just made a good play.

(on players playing even when they are not 100 percent healthy)

That's our locker room, that's those guys, they like to compete. (Johnathan) Cyprien and Corey Davis are chomping at the bit to get out there, nobody likes being injured. Our quarterback is very competitive, didn't like that he had to sit out the Miami game. This shows the makeup of our team. We've got a lot of guys, talk about being dependable, tough and dependable, that's a great example is our quarterback.

(on how the defensive backs matched up against Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton, and it seeming to be spread out)

It was, we had a number of combinations of calls that we were going to try and mix it up a little bit, not solely rely on one individual or one defense to try and stop him. I thought our guys did great, I thought they played well. I did not watch the tape, just watching from the sideline, I thought very pleased overall. I felt like Adoree' (Jackson) played well. Logan (Ryan) did, Kevin Byard did. That was a challenge was our receivers against theirs and we needed guys to step up and I thought both sides did, DBs and our wide outs.

(on utilizing two different running backs)

Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty good model of what we're looking for. Both guys are physical runners, not far off from their skill level in the run game. We did a little bit more with Marcus (Mariota) outside with the passing game, as you saw. Really it's a good combination, and it's tough to defend.

(on if running back Derrick Henry has established himself as the go-to back in the fourth quarter)
Yeah, I could say that. That’s kind of been the case as of late when we go into four-minute. Again, he’s probably a little fresher from not taking a lot of snaps. I really like how it played out with the percentages and how these guys – I mean, the first guy down to congratulate him (Derrick Henry) on the touchdown was DeMarco Murray, and I thought that kind of shows what kind of players we have in that locker room.

(on the challenge of preparing for a game on a short week)

Well, it’s not (a) Thursday night game, that kind of a challenge. But, one less day does make a difference in this business, especially when you’re in physical games. We’ll tone it down a little bit, we’ll stay out of pads tomorrow. We’ll be more walk-through tomorrow than normal, trying to get into recovery. I think recovery is extremely important for these guys. I think they know that and we had a ton of them in here today. Again, traveling after it is another obstacle that we have to overcome. But, we’ll tone it down a bit this week.

(on the difficulty of releasing long-time players like former Titan and current Brown Jason McCourty)

I think it’s – none of them are easy. Obviously, some guys that have been with this organization for a long time, very difficult to do that, no question about it.

(on how Browns cornerback Jason McCourty has looked so far this season)

I’ve only seen a little bit. Again, I’ve been – we’ve been planning offensively for most of the morning and afternoon. I usually – typically when we get done tomorrow with red zone, will I start looking at them defensively.

(on what was going through his mind when C/G Brian Schwenke gave his cleat to LT Taylor Lewan to wear during the fourth quarter)

It was a pretty important play, we were trying to go kill the clock to get us a victory. I’m not sure I’ve ever been through a sequence of what took place on the sideline there. We have situations on Saturdays every week, I haven’t done that one yet. That may have to come up again some point to see if we can handle it a little better than we did.

(on the thought process behind returners Adoree’ Jackson and Eric Weems splitting return duties in yesterday’s game)

The punter, he had two types of kicks. One we call a boomerang where he gives the impression it’s going to the right, but actually it boomerangs, it actually goes to the left. If it gets on the ground it’s got a chance to really roll, so we were trying to keep it from being on the ground. Put two guys back there that we (felt like) could catch them, and hopefully get a return on.

(on what the team needs to do to improve on kickoff coverage)

Little disappointed in that. We’ve got a lot of good players on that unit. One way to improve is to be where they’re supposed to be, and we’re going to have a discussion about that tomorrow. We’ve got a lot of guys trying to do too much and not doing what they’re supposed to do. We’re getting gashed because of it and that will be a discussion tomorrow for sure.

(on what went into the decision to have nose tackle Sylvester Williams be inactive)

Just rotation. Discussion about the rotation and that was it.

(on if he sees Sylvester Williams having a role and being active going forward)

Absolutely. Yeah, we have a discussion every week at every position.

(on defensive lineman Karl Klug playing an active role in pass rushing)

Yeah, he did. Again, I’m talking about just watching him from afar on the sideline, I did. I saw him, he was disruptive. He’s a ‘go-100-mile-an-hour’ regardless of the situation. I thought he was disruptive when he had his chances.

(on how defensive lineman Austin Johnson performed in yesterday’s game)

I think he did all right for the first time really going in as a starter. I think he did fine, again I have a staff (meeting) here at five o’clock to talk about each one of these guys and their grades, and get an overview of the game from the coaches. Again, I’m speaking from just what I saw last night.

(on if he thought cornerback Logan Ryan stripped the ball and caused a fumble on the play ruled an incomplete catch)

That was close, that was very close. I could see it both ways, so yeah it was very close.

(on the penalty called on safety Kevin Byard for unnecessary roughness)

He needs to take his hands off and get back in the huddle. It was an excellent flop by (Jack) Doyle, I thought it was really good, one of the top ones of the night. You’re inviting it if you’re hands are on him, so good lesson learned.

(on how good it was to see Marcus Mariota keep guard Quinton Spain calm after Mariota was roughed up)

That’s what leaders do. The linemen, they would like to do some things they could probably go to jail for when they see their quarterback get hit. It’s very frustrating and I could understand why. He’s not just their teammate, this is a really close friend to them. They don’t like to see that take place. It happened too many times last night, our guys had had enough. But, I’ll give them credit. They maintained their composure and I give Marcus (Mariota) a lot of credit for immediately responding and pulling him back, which is easier said than done.

(on the contributions outside linebacker Erik Walden have made after being a late addition to the roster)
He’s been a great addition, he’s been a really great addition. He’s really – I’ll tell you, he’s really great in our locker room. Our players rally around him, they like him. He fit in immediately and that’s a position you’ve got to have some depth. You can’t miss a beat. Somebody is out, next guy in. Same violent, type of pass rusher we already have. He’s been a great addition.

(on linebacker Wesley Woodyard’s level of play trending up as he gets older)

He’s been, he’s really been outstanding. Seems like we talk about him every week. That was a huge play on his part to do what he did. Not surprising, not the way he works, not the way he prepares. He’s a true pro. If you want to figure out how to do it, watch him.

(on Quinton Spain getting down the field quickly after running back Derrick Henry scored a touchdown)

Yeah, we have a GPS monitor on him. I’ve been on him for not running enough, so I’m sure he did that just to get the numbers up just to make me happy. No, I’m just kidding. He’s one of the guys that hands the balls to the kids in the stands. If the player that scores doesn’t do it, he’s the one that will so I’m sure that had a lot to do with why he was down there so quick.